Purpose: A prospective study was performed to compare results of computed tomography (CT) and fiberoptic bronchoscopy in diagnosis of cancer in patients with hemoptysis.
Materials and methods: Ninety-one patients (64 men, 27 women) with hemoptysis underwent thin-section CT and fiberoptic bronchoscopy.
Results: CT scans demonstrated all 27 tumors seen at bronchoscopy and an additional seven, five of which were beyond bronchoscopic range. In patients with normal chest radiographs, bronchial carcinoma was detected in 5% at both bronchoscopy and CT. In patients with abnormal findings on radiographs, bronchoscopy allowed both location and histologic diagnosis in 78% of carcinomas but was unreliable in locating peripheral tumors demonstrated at CT. CT was insensitive in demonstrating early mucosal abnormalities, bronchitis, squamous metaplasia, and a benign papilloma, all detected at bronchoscopy.
Conclusion: The initial examination should be bronchoscopy when there is high clinical suspicion of carcinoma and relevant radiographic abnormality, and CT when strong clinical suspicion of carcinoma is not substantiated at bronchoscopy in patients with normal findings on chest radiographs.